Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Monkey movie report

I find Kenneth Williams the late actor and celebrity fascinating and yet I found this biopic of him to be irritating.  Williams was a deeply inhibited and closeted gay man who became famous for his comic creations, based largely on gay stereotypes and imitations of other peoples accents.  He lived and worked in a time when it was a crime to act on your homosexual impulses and there is a very real probability that he lived his life a virgin.  The stress and strain of keeping a tight rein on his gayness most likely gave him searing stomach pains and caused him to develop ulcers.  He ended up taking his own life in the late 1980's, a life that he had spent doing his best to make others laugh.

Michael Sheen, an actor who has done some great work and who I have lauded before on this very blog, is annoying as fuck in this role.  He conveys a bit of what Williams must have went through but he relies too much on mimicry, which most of the time is way the fuck over the top.  I wanted to shove an icepick through my ear drums every time he honked his Williams-esque laughter.  He's in virtually every scene of this film so it's hard to escape his grating portrayal. 

The one bright spot in this film is the performance of Cheryl Campbell as Williams enabling and loving mother.  Sheen is over the top and annoying but Campbell is steady, cool, and measured in her performance.  She's the living embodiment of the old adage that in acting, less is more. 

If you're a fan of British comedians, the Carry On series of films, or of Kenneth Williams, then yo may want to check this film out.  I can't in conscience recommend it though, Sheen is that bad in it.

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